By Ian V. Hogg
Ebook by means of Hogg, Ian V.
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Additional info for The Complete Handgun: 1300 To the Present
O n e was the percussion tube, invented by Joseph Manton, a famous English gunsmith. This was a thin copper tube containing the fulminate composition, inserted into the vent so that one end was exposed. T h e hammer fell on to this exposed end and detonated the composition, and the tube directed the flame into the gun chamber. It worked well enough, but removing the tube from the vent was not an easy task. A far better idea was the percussion cap which appears to have occurred to several people at about the same time.
T h e Board of Ordnance ordered 100 revolvers for test in the following month, and, after the success of these tests, ordered 2 0 0 0 revolvers later in the year. Adams and Beaumont-Adams revolvers were also produced under licence by a number of makers, notably Francotte of Liege in Belgium and the Massachusetts Arms Company in the United States, although the latter had to wait for the expiry of the Colt patent before they could begin to sell the Adams design in America. Colt was less given to licensing, but one notable exception to this was his issue of a five-year licence to the Koniglich und Kaiserlich Maschinenfabrik of Innsbruck, in Austria in 1849.
One defect of early revolvers was that the interface between the front of the cylinder and the rear of the barrel' was a sizeable gap, due largely to the lack of precision in manufacturing methods of the time. Some of the energy of the cartridge's explosion was wasted by leakage at this gap, as the bullet went up the barrel, and, what was a good deal worse, there was always the danger that flash from this gap could spread across to the other chambers and, if the bullet was not close-fitting, could ignite the charges therein and discharge the lot - the same sort of problem that had dogged the turret revolver.